Rodney Fernando, a former student of St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in Downey, will be running the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon on March 15 with a special purpose: to help raise funds for the school that became like a second home after Fernando and his family migrated from their native Sri Lanka in 1970.

  At St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy (formerly Pius X High School), Fernando found a “comforting and welcoming environment that allowed him to grow.” During his years at the school, he ran track and cross country and graduated with the class of 1975, and returned to serve as a track/cross country coach from 1978 to 1980. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and has had a successful career as an accountant for 35 years.

  According to Fernando, he believes in the education his alma mater provides for its students, and wants to do his part to help give back to the school community.

  “This school continues to launch successful and purpose-driven students into higher education and careers,” he said. “I am just one of so many young people who have benefited.”

  Students, faculty and staff will be on hand during the marathon on March 15 to cheer on Fernando. All marathon pledges will benefit the athletic programs at St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy.

  Donations can be made online through, and sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Gabby Santos, the school’s director of Advancement and Alumni Relations, at [email protected].